By Swami Harshananda
Nāciketāgni literally means ‘the fire of Naciketas’.
In the story of Naciketas as described in the Kathā Upaniṣad, the second boon that the young boy Naciketas asked from Yama, the god of death, was about the sacrifice in the fire that could help one to attain svarga or heaven after death. Yama taught him the same, in all its details and tested him at the end, just to know whether he had rightly comprehended this difficult subject. When he got excellent answers Yama was so pleased with Naciketas that he christened the sacrifice and the main fire in it, as ‘Nāciketāgni.’ However, the details of the sacrifice are not known.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore